With the Devils needing another goalie after deciding to move on from Cory Schneider, speculation was abound over where GM Tom Fitzgerald would look for a veteran complement to young Mackenzie Blackwood. Unrealistic internet speculation had us trying to get Marc-Andre Fleury but I figured he wouldn’t waive his no-trade to come here anyway. Derek speculated maybe Thomas Greiss. I honestly didn’t even harbor a guess but figured we would not be going into the season with unproven Gilles Senn as our #2 goalie.
Maybe Corey Crawford should have occured to me as a logical guess, especially after reading yesterday that the Blackhawks decided to not offer a contract to their long-time goalie. Sure enough, the Devils made their first significant FA signing in the Fitz era by inking the 36-year old Crawford to a two-year contract. Crawford certainly checks the boxes Fitzgerald was looking for – short-term contract, veteran upgrade and someone who doesn’t need to play 55-60 games at this point of his career.
Crawford is certainly battle-tested with two Stanley Cups and tons of playoff experience in Chicago. He’ll no doubt help Blackwood as a mentor while pushing him for playing time and creating somewhat of a competition at least. Of course given Crawford’s recent health issues (he’s played only 107 games in the last three years), nobody should be expecting him to be a 55-60 game goalie but his numbers even the last couple years on a rebuilding Blackhawks team are worlds better than any non-Blackwood goalie has been for the Devils in recent years.